Two weeks ago, I wrote about a few April holidays, but I left out two very important dates, or rather one date that is important for two reasons. Last Thursday was not only National Static Cling Day, it was also the birthday of my niece and goddaughter Kari, and my cat Sweetpea.
Sweetpea is 32 in cat years which is four in human years, and Kari is not quite three in cat years and telling a young woman’s age in human years is just not done. I didn’t include this important double birthday holiday because the holidays I wrote about were basically silly, and these two birthdays are not at all silly. Well, maybe the birthday girls did silly things to celebrate. I know for sure that one did because I was with Sweetpea and participated in her silliness.
It was silly of me to get Sweetpea another toy for her birthday. She and Buddy (my other cat) have more toys than I know what to do with. At one point, I divided their toys into two groups and put one in the closet and planned to switch them after a month or two. But then Christmas happened and they got a whole lot more toys.
They were very happy with the new toys, so I put away what had been half their toys – now only one third of the total toy population – and only the Christmas toys were available for playtime. Only the Christmas toys plus the toys that were under the stove and the refrigerator and the storage chest and the chair and behind the shelves and under the bed. So the last thing Sweetpea should have gotten for her birthday was another toy. But I really couldn’t help myself.
I’ve been watching a show on the Animal Planet channel called “My Cat from Hell.” People show and tell what their problem cat does and it is always horrendous. The cats claw and scratch and bite and hiss and don’t use the litter box properly and generally misbehave.
Their people are at their wits end, so they call in the most unlikely looking “cat whisperer” with the unlikely name of it’s Jackson Galaxy. He is a big bald guy who has precisely sculpted sideburns and facial hair. He has earrings and a lot of tattoos, and he drives a red convertible. He always carries a guitar case, and we are told he is a musician by night, but the guitar case he carries to homes where hellish cats live contains cat toys and treats.
He understands the cats, and he manages to change the humans behavior so that the cat will be happier and therefore easier to live with. And every single time, the human is instructed to play with the cat and is given a toy that’s like a small fishing pole with a thin wire attached and at the end of the wire is either a small bunch of feathers or a little toy mouse. The toy never fails! The cat is crazy about the toy and plays away all that hostile energy, and once the people understand that cats like a clean litter box, everyone lives happily ever after.
Naturally, when I saw an ad for one of these magic toys, I had to get one, even though my cats are certainly not from hell or anywhere near there! They are very well behaved, but they like to have fun and these toys looked like a lot of fun. Buddy has a little more energy than a small apartment dwelling cat needs, so it’s good to have extra ways to wear her out.
I loved the mouse on the fishing pole, so I sent for it. Technically, it was for Sweetpea’s birthday, but their understanding of the concept of toy ownership is somewhat confused. Sweetpea feels that all the toys are hers because she plays with them more, but Buddy feels all Sweetpea’s toys are Buddy’s because Buddy is the boss. The toys are mine when it is time to pick them up and ferret them out from under wherever the cats have poked them. It all works out in the end.
The fishing pole mouse came and Sweetpea got to play with it first because Buddy was having an evening nap to rest up from the exhaustion of her afternoon snooze. Sweetpea loved the mouse. It looked disturbingly real as it wiggled over the carpet and skittered across the kitchen floor. Sweetpea was entranced and followed it and crouched and pounced and circled and did her best hunting dances. Sounds of the hunt wakened Buddy and she had to have a turn. Buddy is always more interested in chewing the string or elastic that connects a fishing pole toy with the pole from which it dangles, so she first checked the wire, decided it didn’t taste good and would not be fun to chew apart, and then she participated in a lively mouse hunt of her own.
Buddy’s birthday is next month. She’ll be 5 – that’s 36 in human years – but I know she’s not too old to appreciate the same toy only with feathers instead of a mouse. Maybe I should have gotten one for my niece as well?